9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Scholarly and thorough,
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This review is from: Through the Eye of a Needle: Wealth, the Fall of Rome, and the Making of Christianity in the West, 350-550 AD (Hardcover)
In this book, Peter Brown describes the development of Christian society between 4c and 6c with particular regard to the use of wealth. He traces the change in attitudes towards almsgiving, from the late classical notion of civic responsibility to Christian ideas of free giving to the poor and the ideal of temporal poverty itself. There is a huge amount of very learned research here and Brown writes with generosity towards other scholars and with the authority of his own acclaimed scholarship. Physically it is a big heavy book, but the style is light, and considering the enormous amount of sheer material it contains, this is not oppressive in tone. The subject is unusual and the historical period covered not one that will be immediately familiar (or necessarily attractive) to most readers, but I approached it in almost complete ignorance and have found it fascinating.